Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker is optimistic a return to Perth can help erase disappointing Everest memories and deliver a comeback victory for Overpass in next month’s Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot.
Ascot holds special attachment for Baker and Overpass and was the scene of the gelding’s biggest triumph earlier in April when he held out star local mare Amelia’s Jewel to win the inaugural $4 million The Quokka by a thrilling short-head margin.
Overpass, currently a $7 second favourite to win the Winterbottom Stakes on December 2, returns to Perth seeking a slice of redemption after finishing 10th to Think About It in the $20 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick last month.
The Vancouver five-year-old might not have been at his best after subsequent blood tests showed a minor issue, but The Everest has proved to be a bogey race after he ran sixth to Giga Kick in last year’s edition of the rich slot event.
The New Zealand-born Baker says if you cast aside The Everest last start, Overpass has mixed it with Australia’s best sprinters following a couple of seconds in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) and Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick.
Baker is confident Overpass can bounce back and return to his best to win the Winterbottom Stakes.
“His form is top rate,” Baker said to The Races WA.
“Outside the Everest he’s been super.
“He was great in The Shorts and was great in the 10,000, then you go back to The Quokka.
“In The Everest he had an off day, the first time for a long time.
“It was a great experience in Perth earlier this year.
“It took out a little question mark regarding the track and going left handed.
“We know that’s in his favour.
“I think he’s going well and will definitely acquit himself well.
“On his day he is one of the best sprinters in the country.
“If he runs up to that he will be right there.”
Overpass had his first serious gallop since The Everest with a 1000m trial at Hawkesbury on Monday, running three lengths second to stable mate Malkovich.
“He trialled really well,” Baker said.
“Malkovich is a trial specialist and was helped by a big weight difference.
“Happy with both of them, but happy with Overpass.”
Overpass will look to build on his record of six wins and five placings from 24 starts and pass $5 million in prizemoney in Perth.
He races well fresh with two first-up wins and three seconds from six outings.
Regular jockey Joshua Parr will ride Overpass in the Winterbottom Stakes.